Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
August 5, 2009

Chas Kestermeier, S.J.

English Department
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
As humans we get accustomed to things, make them habits or relegate them to the ordinary, basically forgetting them unless something goes wrong.  This process extends to what we see and smell as well as to such activities as walking, eating, and driving --- not to mention the way that we think. 

And we also have our little temporary preferences and "needs" that we can forget two weeks later, putting them behind us as unimportant.  They can disappear from our lives, even if these "needs" can seem temporarily urgent or even essential to our well-being.

In the Gospel passage the Lord seems to be addressing just that proclivity in the devious way that good teachers do.  He deals lovingly with the woman in today's gospel, teaching her with what seems at first to be cruel disregard.  Consider that Jesus has left Israel to go to a specifically pagan area, He does this one remembered thing, and then He returns to Israel: is this conversation with the woman really a refusal on His part?  I don't think so.

The woman needs to pray unceasingly, just as the woman appealing to the unjust judge (Luke 18), but in this case it is not that Jesus is refusing or even that He changes His mind: in the heat of her desire and the insistence of her prayer, the woman comes to see the depth of her need and her faith, engages her courage and her wit, and grows as a result of the interaction.  Her daughter may be healed in body, but she herself is graced with a greater faith and love.

As for ourselves, do we pray unceasingly?  Do we learn to ask for what it is that we really desire, not taking Jesus for granted and not just asking for a passing fancy of our hearts?  How serious are we about our lives as we approach the Lord? 

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